Charles Grant Feeling the Pressure

Alex RodriguezCorrespondent IAugust 21, 2009

New Orleans Saints defenders Charles Grant (94) and Will Smith (91) hit Baltimore Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller   in the first half of a pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens August 26, 2005 in New Orleans.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Many people have been looking down on New Orleans Saints' defensive end Charles Grant.

Some say he is lazy, and now that he has the money, he won't perform well. People even think that the man shouldn't be starting, and defensive end Bobby McCray should take over the position, but I disagree.

In his seven-year career, Grant has recorded over 379 tackles—300 of them being solo—41.5 sacks, 28 pass deflections, 15 forced fumbles, and one interception. Yes, I'm aware the interception shouldn't judge a defensive lineman, but I like the fact that he can get his hand up in the air.

The problem with Grant is that since 2006 his numbers have slowly declined. He recorded 145 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 10 pass deflections, and has not forced a fumble since 2006. He has recorded three sacks in the past 38 games, meaning health has been a concern for Grant.

His age (soon to be 31) might have something to do with this, as well.

I am here in Charles Grant's defense to simply say: Give this man a chance.

In 2008, before Grant got injured, he recorded 33 tackles and three sacks in just eight games. Yes, I know the sacks aren't that impressive, but imagine if Grant would've finished off the season? He could've had over six sacks and he could've recorded 60 or more tackles.

Grant also got his first safety last year, and had a multi-sack game against San Francisco.

Now, I am aware that this is a man who once recorded a career high 10.5 sacks, and those are the numbers fans want to see.

But it won't happen this year.

With a suspension of up to four games looming, Grant might record six sacks at best, but when he returns from that suspension, his presence will be felt.

He and Sedrick Ellis will form a great team on the left side of the defensive line. With Ellis demanding more double teams, Grant will record better numbers, just like he did last year.

With a healthy Charles Grant, Sedrick Ellis, and Will Smith, the Saints' defensive line could very well be one of the best in the league. I truthfully feel this defensive line is the best in the NFC South. Smith is back at 100 percent health-wise, so expect big numbers out of this defensive line.

And remember this: In 2006, the defensive line was the anchor of the Saints' defense.

Yes, we did allow a lot of points, but Charles Grant and Will Smith were playing amazingly well. 

Charles Grant has to be feeling the pressure. Let's just hope he handles it the right way and continues to anchor the left side of the defensive line.